December 27, 2009
An intersting insight into the final stage of the education of two civil engineers early in the 20th Century.
Documents such as this are fascinating not only for their content but also for their authorship. As one peruses through this thesis one senses two young people, Matthei and Guerni, on the eve of their professional careers and one can't help wonder who they were and what they made of their lives and careers; and perhaps what civil engineering structures still stand as a testament to them.
This thesis was mostly 'typeset' using a typewriter but when mathematical equations and calculations could not be set that way, they were written in by hand. It is interesting to note that a little over 100 years after these two budding civil engineers struggled with mathematical typesetting we still don't have an easy universally accepted method of committing mathematical statements to text from our word processors (and most math still appears on the Internet as GIF files and not as MathML).
For the curious, who may wish to peruse this document, you'll find well-preserved unfaded cyanotype-process blueprints of their reinforced concrete harbor 'light house'. (I'm old enough to remember the less reliable fade-prone diazo process overtaking cyanotype. At the time, diazo might have seemed an advance forward but I'll bet archivists and historians don't think so as they stare at old plans that are now little more than just blank pages.)